It should go without saying that the rematch between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings are against two entirely different teams. The faces may be the same, the schemes are the same, even the popcorn vendors are the same. The teams are not. Last year the Cowboys struggled to protect Tony Romo. Marc Colombo was returning from a broken leg, and Flozell Adams was injured early in the game and replaced by Doug Free. Amazingly, Jason Witten on one play was given the task of pass blocking against Jared Allen. Witten doesn’t win that battle in the made for TV movie about Witten written by Witten (the title would be “Too Slow and Too White: The Jason Witten Story”). In 2010, Colombo and Kyle Kosier are continuing to recover from pre-season arthroscopic knee surgery, Leonard Davis is one game removed from the worst game of his career and a subsequent benching, Andre Gurode aggravated a degenerative knee condition, and it doesn’t not appear Witten has vastly improved his pass blocking.
So a team that had difficulty pass blocking a talented Vikings line only appears to have taken a step back. I have been complaining about the offensive line ever since the Cowboys lost to the Giants in the playoffs. Without a solid offensive line, you can’t run the ball, can’t pass the ball, and you can’t win.
Does that mean the Cowboys have no chance? Surprisingly no. The Vikings defense has been a shadow of their former 2009 selves. Their QB is suffering from tendinitis in his elbow (possibly from a repetitive motion related his his hobby as a photog), which I can say from personal experience can be incredibly debilitating. They replaced a great young WR in Sidney Rice (hip injury) with a stellar old WR in Randy Moss. Fortunately, Moss does appear to be on the down side of his career. On the Cowboys side, replace Patrick Crayton with a gimpy Dez Bryant, a do nothing Roy Williams with a productive do something Roy Williams, and an equally productive Miles Austin, and the Cowboys have a chance.
The Cowboys also have revenge as a motivating factor. The Cowboys often appear to lack pride in their play. In revenge games (e.g., playing the Giants in 2008 after having been bumped from the playoffs the year before) the Cowboys don’t play with a chip on their shoulder. Against the Vikings, they have an opportunity to disprove this assertion.
Ironically, last years playoff game was going to end one of the teams season. This year’s game will do practically the same. At 1-4, the season isn’t over, but it is on life support. The question has to be asked… is the electricity being used to keep the team alive worth it?
Tags: Andre Gurode Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant Flozell Adams Jared Allen Kyle Kosier Leonard Davis Marc Colombo Miles Austin Minnesota Vikings NY Giants Patrick Crayton Randy Moss Roy Williams Sidney Rice Tony Romo